By Godwin Oritse
. . . As freight forwarders faults amount collected
THENigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) has collected over N20billion into the nationâ€™s maritime fund meant to develop the local shipping industry and its auxiliary industries.
The fund is the 25% of the 3% of freight rates collected on all inbound and outbound cargoes over the years.
Disclosing this to Vanguard in Lagos recently, the Director-General of NIMASA Dr Adegboyega Dosunmu said that the agency has realized the said amount and has also concluded plans with banks on the disbursement of the loan to qualified local operators.
Dosunmu also said that the agency is currently working out the modalities with the banks and other end users of the fund, adding that by the time the entire process is completed, the indigenous shipping industry will better off.
The fund which was set up by NIMASA Act is also meant to develop other areas of shipping businesses some of which include jetties, acquisition of barges for short sea shipping, trucks and infrastructure that will advance the level of indigenous ship owners from its present level.
As the agency conclude plans to commence disbursement of the fund, operators are already agitating and strategising to ensure that they get part of the money to develop their businesses.
On the number of banks that will be allowed to manage the fund, Dosunmu explained that the number of banks will be determined by their ability/criteria set for them to administer the fund.
Meanwhile, freight forwarders have faulted the claims of NIMASA on the N20billlion collected so far saying that the money is much more what NIMASA is claiming.
Speaking to Vanguard on the collected fund, Mr Lucky Amiwero, President of the National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) said that it is the importers and freight forwarders that actually pay the monies collected into the fund.
He noted that if a proper audit is carried out on the amount collected so far, the true collection will be known.
Besides the N20billion collected into the maritime fund, the agency has also collected over N6billion into the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), this is another fund meant to assist indigenous ship owners to acquire more vessels.